Not the Reagan Doctrine… but better

Overall, A Tough Week for Pyongyang,” by “joshua,” One Free Korea, http://freekorea.blogspot.com/2005/01/overall-tough-week-for-pyongyang.html, 21 January 2005.

Fellow blogger-of-South-Dakota-extraction Joshua sees Bush’s Second Inaugural Address as a reanimation of the Reagan Doctrine. He suggests comparing the first passage from Reagan to the Bush quotes bellow (all emphasis mine)

We must not break faith with those who are risking their lives…on every continent, from Afghanistan to Nicaragua … to defy Soviet aggression and secure rights which have been ours from birth. Support for freedom fighters is self-defense

..”

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

Here’s Bush from yesterday:

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world. America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause. This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities.
. . . .

Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it. Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world. All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country. The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

Summing up, Joshua writes

the Reagan Doctrine, quietly undone by Bush’s father, is back. It doesn’t take much guessing to see where he intends to apply it; indeed, the last sentence almost seems to have been meant for Kim Jong Il.

In the words of President Bush: I disagree… strongly disagree with that.

Joshua underestimates the importance of Bush’s speech. As I have written, the Second Inaugural may be the greatest speech in American history. I won’t go over all the details now, but the basic difference is that the Reagan Doctrine was a negative strategy, while the Bush doctrine is a positive one.

The Reagan Doctrine, like the Monroe Doctrine or the Carter doctrine, sought to prevent the growth of outside powers. The Reagan Doctrine was an inexpensive response to the Soviet’s attempt to build countries of socialist orientation. Reagan’s response to massive state-building efforts by the Soviets was “fine, we’ll find some angry guys, give them guns, and create a revolution-in-a-box.” George Crile has written that what was extraordinary about the Secret Afghan War was that we tried to win, while in every other theatre our goal to make the Soviets lose (which was cheaper).

In other words: The Soviets were attempting to connect as much of the globe as they could to their command-and-control economy. For them this was a future worth creating. Reagan didn’t have a future worth creating. He saw a future worth destroying. We sought to disconnect every state the Soviets connected, and we succeeded.

While Reagan’s decisions were correct, they suffered from a schizophrenia. Which regime should be support in the Falklands, anti-communist Argentina or anti-communist Britain? We fudged it, and covertly helped both. Who should we support in Afghanistan, salafists or tribalists? We did both.

Bush has a positive vision. He wants to spread Globalization’s rule sets — making the world’s economies more American while making America’s culture more worldly (socially conservative). It is hard and it is expensive. He eloquently defends this as a war of self defense, which it is. No President has ever proposed anything this grand, and no President has ever been more right.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire